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LANDIS — West Rowan is 16-1 deep into the prep basketball season, but still doesn’t know if they’re good.
After having its 15-game win streak stopped last week against North Iredell, the Falcons bounced back with a 55-50 victory at South Rowan. They fell behind early and survived a late charge from their rival in an NPC road game.
“Right now we’re not the same team we were a month ago,” West coach Todd McNeely said. “We play hard enough to push it out and then let them come back. We need to get better.”
Such is life in the NPC as South gave West more of a battle then West’s double-digit win last month in Mt. Ulla. Shay Steele had a team-best 23 points and blocked six shots. Nycieko Dixon scored 14 for West.
South jumped out to a 18-10 lead thanks to Cassidy Chipman hitting a trio of three-pointers. The Raiders struggled in the second quarter, managing four points. Leading scorer Avery Locklear, who eventually scored 16 points, had just two at halftime.
“The second quarter hurt us a lot,” South coach Jarrod Smith said. “We stopped being aggressive. Last time we played them, three of them fouled out because we were aggressive.”
This time the Falcons played with virtually no foul trouble, meaning Steele could use her 6-foot-3 frame and swat away.
South eventually regained its tenacity in the final quarter when Chipman hit a 15-footer from the baseline to bring her team to within 48-43 with three minutes left. McNeely called timeout and the Falcons went to Steele who finished with baskets on consecutive possessions for breathing room.
After being down 18-14 at halftime, the Falcons embarked on a 14-0 run to establish control. Dixon nailed a three from the corner and Shanice Miller hit a runner to give West (16-1, 5-1) its first lead at 19-18.
“The loss last week got to us because we had a big weight on our shoulders,” Steele said. “Coach said now, we’re 0-0.”
Smith received a technical in the waning seconds of the first half, but the Falcons came out fired up after the break. Dixon and Alison Sobataka hit big 3s to put West up 37-28. Dixon got a steal and a layup to put the Falcons up double digits at 41-30. Back-to-back shots from Chipman got South (5-14, 2-6) back into it as it trailed 43-35 at the end of the third quarter.

WEST ROWAN (55) — Steele 23, Dixon 14, Hall 8, S. Miller 5, Q. Miller 2, James.
SOUTH ROWAN (50) — Chipwell 23, Locklear 16, Hubbard 5, Bost 4, Martin 2, McClendon.

W. Rowan 14 15 14 12 — 55

S. Rowan 18 4 13 15 — 50

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